On my way home from work at the end of last week, I noticed movement in the grass on the side of our county road. I slowed down and took a closer look, and there were thirty or so sharp-tailed grouse running through the grass on the roadside. I stopped the truck and grabbed the camera, and as I stepped into the grass, those birds exploded out of the foliage.
I’ve seen sharp-tails in the area before, but that’s the biggest group of them I’ve seen together out here. I’ve seen bigger bunches in other places around the state, but out where I live, they normally don’t seem to be able to build up to those kinds of numbers.
I’m hoping that’s a good omen for this hunting season. I know the weather has been hard on antelope, to the extent that the number of licenses for them has been reduced this year. It’s probably been hard on the sharptails, too, but at least out where I live, they seem to be doing quite well.
We got a lot of rain earlier in the year, but lately it’s been very dry. That can have a big impact on wildlife, but it can also be a help to hunters. If you can find a water hole, you can often find game. But when water is more abundant, the critters can be just about anywhere.
But despite the drought and the reduction of licenses, there is still game out there. There should be plenty to provide you with a good hunting season, though you may have to walk a little farther to find them. I plan to do just that. My son and I are already planning to go tromp through some of the fields near our house on opening day looking for sharptails.
Good luck to you this hunting season. It may not be the best one we’ve had in a while, but it’s still hunting, and that’s always good.